Did Beaufort High really cancel event because some are ‘offended’ by the American flag?

At the same time Beaufort High School parents were expressing frustration and fear over an unannounced safety drill Monday — during which a district staffer, posing as an intruder, was said to have climbed through an unlocked window — the school was also getting criticized for changing the theme of a Spirit Week event because, according to one parent, the principal thought some might find the American flag to be “offensive.”

A Facebook post from Beaufort High parent Bobby Cooler Jr. garnered more than 200 comments and 140 shares mostly chastising the school’s decision.

“On top of all the other entertainment that happened at Beaufort High today my children have told me that for Spirit Week there will be no red white and blue day,” Cooler wrote Monday afternoon. “The principal feels that the American flag may be offensive to some of the student body.”

Commenters reacted to the post with similar outrage.

“This principal needs to step back and remember that job she so values is made possible by that Government,” Kristine Clime Brady wrote on Cooler’s post. “What are we teaching these kids ? They are suppose to learn to respect and honor the country and government for which we are governed by.”

The only problem? The principal didn’t reject the theme of the event because she thought the flag might be offensive, according to Beaufort County School District officials.

Principal Charity Summers was actually concerned that the student council’s proposed “Merica Monday” celebration wasn’t respectful enough, school spokesman Jim Foster said Tuesday.

“She didn’t want the abbreviation,” he said of the word “Merica,” a mispronunciation of “America” used to mimic the stereotype of a fervently patriotic Southerner.

Summers, whose husband, two sons and brother-in-law have served in the military, encouraged the student council to pick another name for the themed day or to hold a school-wide vote to decide on another theme, Foster said.

The student council chose the latter option, and students voted to change the theme to “Character Celebrity Day,” which was held Monday.

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Rachel Jones covers education for the Island Packet and the Beaufort Gazette. She attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and has worked for the Daily Tar Heel and Charlotte Observer. Rachel grew up in Ayden, NC, surrounded by teachers.